Trailer: “Doctor Kong” (aka the Faux Sequel to “King of Kong”)

Technically “Doctor Kong” is no more a sequel to Seth Gordon’s “The King of Kong” than, say, “We Were Here” is a sequel to “The Times of Harvey Milk” or “Shine a Light” is a sequel to “Gimme Shelter.” But I’m still going to think of it as “The King of Kong Too,” at least until I see it. The new doc was directed by Alexis Neophytides, who recently was a P.A. on Liz Garbus’ “Shouting Fire,” and follows the story of Dr. Hank Chien, a New York gamer who (I think still) holds the record for highest Donkey Kong score, having topped both “King of Kong” characters, Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell.

It doesn’t look quite as good as Gordon’s film, lacking a semblance of the rivalry story appeal of “The King of Kong,” but I am curious. I guess I missed its debut at Brooklyn’s bowling alley bar, The Gutter, last month. Next stop is The Midwest Gaming Classic at the Sheraton Milwaukee Brookfield Hotel this weekend.

Review: “Worst in Show”

If a bar was set for competition-based documentaries last decade with the edge of your seat drama and opposition in “Spellbound” and “The King of Kong” (which I named as the best of their kind for the 2000s), two recent films have proven that suspenseful editing and formulaic narrative is not necessary for engaging non-fiction stories. Last week I reviewed “Kings of Pastry,” which isn’t really about a contest but rather an examination, and it’s comparatively slight and insignificant but it works. Now I’ve just seen the festival-touring “Worst in Show,” a doc about the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest that ignores intensity for basic human-interest magic.

Obviously it’s also a dog-interest story. The hour-long film takes us to Petaluma, California, for the 2010 competition of hideous canines (you’ve no doubt heard of Sam, the undefeated pooch who put the contest on the map). But it’s not Animal Planet fluff. And the real freak show is with the owners. I’m not necessarily saying some of them are ugly — though what they say about pets and their owners looking alike is validated here — so much as they’re just amazingly odd (but not mocked or exploited as such). Christopher Guest could not make up characters better than what you find here.

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